BRATTLEBORO, VT - Benedict Q. Underhill, (59) of Brattleboro passed on Sunday night, August 12, 2018 to the Land of Hope and Dreams from a long battle with Multiple Myeloma and a more recent bout with sarcoma.
He was born on May 20, 1959 in St. Petersburg, Florida the son of Jacob B. Underhill III (deceased) and Cynthia L. Robinson (deceased).
Mr. Underhill moved to Long Island, NY shortly after his birth and graduated from Westhampton Beach High School in 1977. In 1981 he graduated from Colgate University with a double major in Political Science and History. He was invited to be a member of Konosioni, Colgate’s Senior Honor Society devoted to preserving Colgate's many traditions and bettering the Hamilton community through service. While at Colgate he was involved with the campus radio station serving as program director his senior year, helped run the college record store and was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity.
Mr. Underhill worked for WCHN/WKXZ radio in Norwich, NY, then WKVT radio in Brattleboro as a salesperson. In 1988 he joined the Putnam Insurance Agency in Brattleboro and became President of the agency in 1992. In 2002 he completed his purchase of the agency from his close friend and mentor Andy Chalifour.
While in high school Ben lettered in both wrestling and golf. He also began coaching youth baseball, a love that continued throughout his life. He was a longtime coach in the Brattleboro Small Fry Baseball Association and served on their Board of Directors for over 30 years. In 2012 he was honored with the dedication of the first base dugout in his name. He played for over 20 years in the Brattleboro Softball League with the Reformer and Newton Business teams. For many years he played in the Morning Basketball Association at Brattleboro Union High School. In 1986 Ben started the Green Mountain Rotisserie League and is their CFL and seven-time winner. He was also active in the Vermont National Bank Fantasy Football League since 2006 and was a three-time winner of that league.
One of Ben’s biggest joys was the Boston Red Sox. A lifelong fan of the team, he shared season tickets and went to many games, his first in 1969, the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park with his son Jeff, and Opening Day of 2005, when they raised the Championship Banner. In 2007 he attended his first World Series Game and in 2013 attended two World Series Games, including the Game 6 clincher at Fenway. He always rooted against the Evil Empire. He was a passionate Patriots fan and season ticket holder, going to many of their games over the years including Super Bowl XX. He loved rock & roll; almost every year he would attend concerts, and was a huge Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band fan. Reading was another passion, along with movies. Ben loved his children and was proud to have been able to coach and watch them in their various sports and endeavors in life.
Mr. Underhill was a board member of Youth Services of Windham County for 30 years beginning in 1987, serving as both President of the Board of Directors and of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. In 2010 he was honored as a recipient of their first Hall of Fame award. He was a long time Brattleboro Town Meeting Representative and served on other area boards including the Chamber of Commerce, the Parks & Recreation Board, Play Inc. and the West River Park Board and Fund Raising Committee. He served as a Justice of the Peace, first being elected in 2008 and enjoyed working election nights. In 2011, the Brattleboro Rotary Club honored him by naming him a Paul Harris Fellow. In 2012 and 2013 he testified in front of the Vermont Legislature in support of the Patient’s Choice Bill and attended the signing of the bill by Governor Peter Shumlin in May 2013.
In 2003 Ben was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. He survived the cancer for fifteen years, primarily thanks to the help and dedication of his children, friends and family. This changed his life, ending his participation as a coach and as a player.
Ben is survived by his stepchildren, Meghan John of Winchester, NH; Christopher John (and Jamie Cansler) of Brattleboro, and Jeffrey John of Boston; his brother and sister-in-law, David and Linda Underhill of Portsmouth, NH, a sister and brother-in-law, Kate and Jim Kerwin of Naples Florida and his nieces and nephews; Graeme & Heather Underhill, Sean Kerwin and his fiancé Jennifer Montgomery, and Meaghan Kerwin & Brian Zimmer; Step-Mothers, Lois Underhill of La Jolla, CA and Betsy Ashton of NYC and his ex-wife Debra Ketchum. He also shared his life with many dogs and cats over the years.
Mr. Underhill was pre-deceased by his mother, father and his step-father, William R. Robinson, who raised him.
There will be a gathering to celebrate Ben’s life on Sunday, August 19th, 2018 at 5:30pm at the Kiwanis Shelter at Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro VT. We will have ball park food and a baseball themed party, so wear your Red Sox, Patriots or local team apparel and, if able, please bring your own lawn chair.
The family would like to say thank-you to Jim, Agnes, Mary, Barbara, Barbara Ann, Diane and Maureen from the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Oncology Unit, Dr. John Glick of BMH, Dr. Tom Heydinger and his staff, Dr. Ken Anderson of Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston and Kathy Guisti, Founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Another thank you is extended to the therapists at BMH physical therapy.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), 383 Main Ave, 5th Floor, Norwalk, CT 06851; Youth Services of Windham County, Walnut Street, Brattleboro VT, 05301; PLAY Inc, c/o the Gibson-Aiken Center, Main Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301 or the Oncology Unit at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT 05301.